Summit delivers new techniques in medical education

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Gustavo Heudebert, M.D., has long had a desire to help clinician educators improve their teaching skills and strategies.

Carlos Estrada, professor and director of general internal medicine, played a vital role in implementing the recent Faculty Development Education Summit. Administrative Associate Karen Whited, right,  provided the administrative support for the summit. Plans are under way for a second summit next year.

But Heudebert, co-program director for internal medicine residency and vice chair of education and faculty development in the Department of Medicine, needed someone with the energy and equal desire to facilitate the program. Carlos Estrada, M.D., who had heard Heudebert talk about the idea for two years, decided to help make it a reality. The general internal medicine faculty also embraced the idea, and the first Faculty Development Education Summit was held Sept. 23.

“Carlos was a catalytic converter. He just seized the moment and said, ‘All right then, let’s do it,’” Heudebert says. “We put together a team of Division of General Internal Medicine educators, and it snowballed. This was a true group effort. Each of us contributed our unique interests, passion and expertise.”

Faculty from UAB and campuses in Huntsville, Tuscaloosa and Montgomery attended the summit, which specifically focused on graduate medical education. The slides for all presentations and workshops are available online.

“It was energizing and rewarding to see the many dedicated faculty who took time to attend,” Estrada says. “We received many spontaneous congratulatory comments. We knew we wanted to do another one next year, and the overall comments cemented that. It actually gave a stronger sense of purpose for the faculty attending and those presenting. Everyone was energized.”

The summit aligns perfectly with the new Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education — the regulatory body for all post-medical school education at UAB. Institutions and programs with a clean accreditation review are approved to continue training staff for five years.

Heudebert says expectations for training and evaluating faculty are not the same as they were a few years ago. And, he says, the methods continue to change quickly.

“This kind of teaching skills and strategies for clinical educators is not easy to find in the New England Journal of Medicine or the usual journals most clinicians or researchers tend to get their hands on,” Heudebert says. “Much of the information about faculty development in medical education has to do with reading outside the usual venues or attending conferences or workshops for faculty development. In many ways, dissemination of knowledge and new techniques in medical education is not easy to get your hands around.”

Enrollment for the inaugural summit was restricted to 50 invited faculty and clinician educators. Special invitations also were extended to five fellows and residents and five administrative support staffers. Estrada hopes to include more faculty and clinician educators next year.

UAB is fortunate to have strong teachers in general internal medicine, Estrada says. The division has been a leader in medical education for more than a decade, and its faculty have been involved in national curriculum design and presented workshops on developing curricula and other skills.

“In past years, internal medicine faculty have presented similar faculty-development workshops at national and regional meetings,” Estrada says. “In essence, what every clinician educator needs to know to be the best teacher.”

UAB Department of Medicine faculty are eager to develop new insights and learn new techniques to help them train — and be — better physicians,” Heudebert says. “We have the right audience of eager individuals who want to do better at their jobs, and a group of individuals who can deliver solid ideas.”

Next year, the Department of Medicine plans to expand the audience to other primary-care areas, including pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, and the team has submitted grants to fund additional initiatives.

“We also have a great interest in promoting research and innovation in medical education, and next year we hope to showcase this work for a full week,” Willett says. “It would enable us to expand faculty development, give people an opportunity to present their educational work, and enable us to invite national experts in medical education to visit UAB.”

Nine faculty from the Division of Internal Medicine led education workshops during the event, including Analia Castiglioni, M.D., associate professor; J.R. Hartig, M.D., associate professor and program director, medicine/pediatrics residency program; Ryan Kraemer, M.D., assistant professor; Stan Massie, M.D., associate professor; Jason Morris, M.D., assistant professor and clerkship director for internal medicine; Erin Snyder, M.D., assistant professor, Director Women’s Health track; and Lisa Willett, M.D., associate professor and co-program director, internal medicine residency.